Bengaluru: Adding another feather to its glorious hat of achievements, Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru, one of the premier healthcare providers in the country, became the first hospital to perform India’s first robotic aortic valve replacement, a rare high-end procedure, spearheaded by Dr. Sathyaki Nambala, Chief Cardiac Surgeon at Apollo Hospital, Bannerghatta Road. Less than 200 such procedures have been performed globally until today and India now has one in her bucket, thanks to the expertise of Dr. Nambala and his team at Apollo Hospitals Bannerghatta Road.
This breakthrough procedure conducted by extensively trained doctors gave a new life to a 60-year-old who was diagnosed with a calcific Aortic Valve with severe stenosis. The heart was significantly dysfunctional due to the long-standing issue and required early Aortic Valve Replacement. Additionally, he was suffering from a chest wall deformity – scoliosis with crowding of ribs, making his condition more complex. He was discharged within 3 days of the procedure and is doing perfectly well and healthy.
Speaking about the working of robotic aortic valve replacement, Dr. Sathyaki Nambala, Chief Cardiac Surgeon at Apollo Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, said: “At present, Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road is the only center in India for robotic cardiac surgeries and we focus on complex cardiac surgeries like valve repairs and valve replacements through robotics. In the case of robotic aortic valve replacement, you do not have to do any incisions. You will need to make one to four holes on the chest based on which side of the heart you would want to access and complete the procedure.
While the time taken for the surgery varies depending on the complexity of the procedure, a straightforward surgery takes about one and half to two hours and within just 24 hours, the patient can go home. With robotics, it is like sitting inside the heart and doing the surgery.”
“Robotics is a minimally invasive procedure, giving a 3-dimensional, high resolution, magnified view of the inside of the heart, making it easier for the surgeons to fix the valve with utmost precision. It uses a 0.8 mm port and results in no blood loss, no requirement of blood to be given to the patient, no requirement for painkillers as it is almost painless and no risk of infection and post-procedural infections at all. The time of recovery is the least in such cases and the patient can be discharged within a day and can resume to normal activities within 24 hours of the surgery. Right now, robotics is the ultimate advancement in the cardiac surgery segment that medical science can see,” he added.
Robotic aortic valve replacement is an extraordinary technical procedure and is conducted in only a very few centres across the world. Apart from Apollo hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore that has conducted about 250 robotic cardiac procedures since 2019, there are about four to five such centres in North America, one to two centres in Canada and about one centre each in the countries of Western Europe. Also, it requires highly skillful and trained surgeons to conduct such procedures.
Highlighting the training procedure for robotic cardiac surgeries, Dr. Sathyaki said: “The training process is extensive and takes several years. Initially, the training has to be done on simulators and a surgeon has to spend a specific number of hours conducting this procedure on a simulator and attain an eligible score. Following that, a surgeon has to visit various centres that perform such procedures and observe how it is done. Then, he can conduct the same on pigs and move on to try his hands on dead bodies, also known as cadaver practice. The surgeon has to then assist a senior surgeon during surgeries and do such surgeries under the guidance of an expert surgeon before conducting a surgery independently on simpler procedures before taking up complex ones.”
Dr. K. Hari Prasad, President – Hospitals Division said: “Apollo Hospitals has always been committed towards providing top notch health care in the country. It is a moment of honour for Apollo Hospitals Bannerghatta to be able to perform India’s first robotic aortic valve replacement, a breakthrough in complex cardiac surgery space, thanks to our up-to-the-minute infrastructure and extensively skilful doctors. Cardiovascular Disorders happen to be one of the leading causes of fatalities in our country and robotic surgeries to treat a complex cardiac condition almost painlessly, with utmost precision and recovery in no time is a revolutionary step towards cardiac care.”